11 Ways to Win Business This Holiday Season
The National Retail Federation expects sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurants) to increase a solid 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion — significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent. So, how are you going to win a slice of that pie?
Where Do You Start Your Planning?While there are many considerations for winning business in the holiday season, let’s focus on the online piece of your business. Some factors to consider as part of this planning process:
- Much of seasonal shopping are purchases for kids/teens/college students—if this is part of your target market, definitely keep this in mind.
- Are you looking to expand your share of wallet with current customers, or are you more focused on winning first-time customers to your business? Your marketing strategy will be different depending on your focus.
- How important is the holiday season to your annual business goals? See later in the blog if this is true for your business.
Steps Taken by Successful Holiday BusinessHere are steps that successful businesses take to greatly enhance their businesses during the holidays:
- Launching new products/services in time for the holidays—keep things fresh.
- Online marketing, including active use of social media—not only for building brand awareness/equity, but also listening to customers to understand perceptions and to quickly fix customer service issues before they go viral.
- Make your returning customers feel like VIPs—from autofill forms at checkout to recommendations to enhance/supplement previous purchases on the site.
- Free shipping—the market is already there, so you can’t afford not to do this.
- Don’t just match Amazon (or whoever the market leader is for your product/service)—find a way to differentiate your offerings, and make the customer experience memorable so they come back next year.
- Optimize your online store—sounds like an obvious recommendation, but many sites still haven’t put in the work to fix this (every second matters during the holiday shopping season).
- Don’t forget mobile—even if your customers don’t purchase from their smartphones, they use them to make decisions about products/services, so make the effort to enhance the mobile experience.
- Don’t forget about customer service, either—another obvious but often overlooked item.